Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Aug 14, 2018

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2018 #78


March 2017

Clement Mattina was a delivery boy for a national pizza chain for years and after seeing first hand how his former manager ran the store, he figured one day that he could open his own business and do pizza better, and he did.
Chelsea Redmond was one of the first waitresses Clement hired and before the year was over, he and Chelsea were married. It was a union that worked personally and professionally and their business was very successful. Clements goal of 'Mattina's Pizzeria' was that it would become one of those places that great authors or filmmakers talk about when they reflect on their lives.  'That's Clement Mattina,' the voiceover in the movie would say; Clement always hoped it would be Joe Pesci narrating. 'Mr. Mattina ran the best pizzeria in our town, and generations of my family ate there. From my grandparents to my parents and to me and my family, we all grew up on Mattina's Pizzeria. In my town, Mattina's was an American past time that never went away."

Unfortunately, Clement was in with the local mafia and they offered him a unique kind of protection. All he had to do was buy their brand of cheese for his pizza's at their price and they would make sure that none of the national pizza chains would operate anywhere near his business That way it wouldn't affect his ability pay the mafia their protection money. Life was good in one aspect for Clement in that there was never a cessation in his business. On the other hand, the top guys from the local mob would come in and eat for free every once in a while but not all the time. It was just their way of reminding Clement to keep buying their cheese, 'Clement, the cheese in this pizza is excellent!' 

Chelsea knew nothing about the deal.

One morning while Clement was at home sleeping off a night of drinking at the old veterans lodge, a man from the new cheese factory walked into the store with a few blocks of cheese in a miniature grocery cart. He noticed the cashier at the counter and asked if he could speak to the owner? A second later Chelsea appears from out of the kitchen and she and the man begin talking. He removes a large pocket knife and begins to cut taste samples from each block of cheese and hands it to Chelsea to try. It was tangy enough to excite the palate but not burn the tongue, Chelsea was impressed. The man offered to sell his brand of cheese to Chelsea for 15% less than what they were paying for their regular cheese. It was a done deal in more ways than she knew. Giordano's cheese was soon packed in cases and stacked in the very back of the walk-in freezer. Smith's Cheese was moved to the front of the store and ready to be served. Clement finally sobered up and made his way to the pizzeria for the dinner rush later that evening, the second he walked in customers gave him great compliments on his pizza. With his head, a little fuzzy, Clement waved and smiled and thought nothing of it. A month later, Don Stephano Giordano walks into the store and asks to speak to Clement. The two sit at a corner table and talk over some wine, Clement asks the Don if there was anything he wanted to eat? Clement would have it made special for him, Don Giordano refuses.

"I can't eat anything in this place, Clement," the Don says while shaking his head.

Clement was confused, his captains ate here all the time. "I don't understand Don Giordano?"

"Bring out a slice of your pizza and you taste it," the Don insisted.

Clement did exactly that and it only took one bite for him to realize why the Don was so unhappy. "This isn't our cheese.....what the...?" Don Giordano's underboss sat one table away, no one noticed that he'd entered the shop and seated himself. Before Clement realized that the cheese he'd been buying from the Giordano family had been changed out for another brand, the underboss had the muzzle of his handgun right up against the base Clement's skull and fired one shot. Clement crumbled to the floor in a heap, he was dead. Chelsea walked out of the kitchen just in time to witness her husband's murder. Don Giordano and his underboss calmly left the establishment and climbed into a car that was idling across the street.



The nightmare was always filled with such finite detail that many times Chelsea felt she'd been transported back in time. The last moments of the nightmare were especially disconcerting because she could always smell the blood, Clements blood. She remembers watching it pool on the white tiled floor and for some odd reason, it reminded her of how the red tomato sauce would be spread out on the white pizza dough before they began to add everything else on it. A chill of indifference emanated from Giordano and his friend as they passed, it was like withdrawing money from an ATM for them. It was just their kind of everyday business transaction, except in their world if the numbers didn't match up it meant certain death. Chelsea sat up in bed and took a moment to shake off the sleep, she slowly made her way to the kitchen and got a pot of coffee going. Walking to the curtains in the living room she opened them one by one and was greeted by white sands and crystal blue ocean. She took in a deep breath and exhaled. 'That's right, I'm in Hawai'i'.

Hawai'i was a lifetime away from Tyre, Pennsylvania and luckily Chelsea and Clement had no children who would have had to inherit a business where their father was murdered in cold blood.
'Over cheese,' she told herself. 'All because of cheese. fucking cheese,'  It was already a month in Honolulu and all she'd done was travel to and from the local ABC Store for essentials and that was it. If she wasn't crying herself to sleep she was normally drinking herself to it. Most evenings if she was sober she was sitting on the beach in front of her condo watching the sunset or watching the ocean. Like the school of fish that swam near the shore, her mind would swim too. Images of Clement when they first met as employer and employee. It was love at first sight and at the end of her first night on the job he'd offered her a ride home and walked her to her door. He knocked and Chelsea's parents answered, "Hi I'm Clement, I'm Chelsea's boss. We sorta closed late so I gave your daughter a ride home, just wanted you to know that so you wouldn't worry," The Redmonds were impressed and so was Chelsea. The memory was too powerful this time and Chelsea wept openly, a few people who sat nearby felt uncomfortable and decided to move. Another man with mercenary motives came to offer her comfort and Chelsea being the girl from the tough side of town told the gentleman in no uncertain terms to fuck off. She stood up just then and walked straight to the water and thought that she should just start swimming toward the horizon until she couldn't swim anymore. Whatever happened after that didn't matter. Immersing herself in the tide, she found it was colder than she expected and it took her breath away. She didn't bother to let herself get acclimated but began to swim out into the ocean instead, she didn't get far. It had been years since she swam for her high school team and now in her early forties, she was in no shape to duplicate her early achievements. Every muscle in her body burned and she tired very quickly, even trying to float on her back didn't work. Her lungs were burning and she was in a panic, she couldn't bring herself to calm down so that she could fill her lungs with the air she needed. She went under and her mind she kept telling herself that this can't be it, this cannot be her death. She couldn't possibly die this way so far from home in such a beautiful place, but she had nothing left, her body would not co-operate. Her world went dark and she was done.



Chelsea was jolted back to consciousness by a terrible coughing fit which caused her to spit up ocean water. She looked around her and was surprised to see that she was in her own bed in the condo, she was soaking wet from her ill-planned swim but she had no recollection of how she got back to her to her place. She took her clothes off and threw it in the washer and them made her way to the shower, it wasn't until she got out of the shower and was standing in front of the mirror that she saw the two huge bruised hand marks on her left hip and upper left lat muscle. There no definitive fingerprint marks but it was definitely the shape of someone with very large hands.

"What the fuck?"  She wasn't sure if she should be glad that someone saved her life or if she should be afraid? Her body gave her no indication that she'd been sexually assaulted in any way but whoever it was that retrieved her from the ocean, how did they get into her room?


On the beach, 14 stories below Chelsea Mattina's window stood a tall shadow of a man looking up at her balcony. In his hand he held a swath of material from the shirt she wore, she wouldn't notice the missing piece unless she was absolutely looking for it. He could feel that she was much different than the others for some reason. That could explain why he didn't kill her. be continued

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